Peace offering to the “beast and barbaric”

DANDAN BANTUGAN COLUMN

We cannot help but be mesmerized by the rhetoric of Ramon Tulfo on how the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) offered a peace offering to presumptive presidential winner Rodrgio Duterte.
In his column “On Target” published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Tulfo amplified the ramifications of the CBCP offer of collaborative cooperation to the Duterte presidency. Here it goes:
After practically calling Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte “beastly” and “barbaric,” the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) now wants to make peace with the tough-talking mayor.
The offer of an olive branch was made by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas.
Before the elections, Villegas advised voters not to elect Digong for President because he had cracked a joke about an Australian lay missionary who was raped and killed during a prison hostage crisis in 1989.
“Vulgarity is corruption. When we find vulgarity funny, we have become beastly and barbaric as a people,” said Villegas.
Other Catholic prelates in the country should learn a lesson from Villegas: You should never, ever again try to influence the faithful to vote for or against any candidate for public office.
The Catholic church has been rebuffed and humiliated by its own faithful in the past.
The church campaigned hard against the late Juan Flavier, who was running for the Senate in 1995, for advocating the use of condoms as a family planning method when he was health secretary.
Instead of being rejected, Flavier was in the top five in the 1995 national elections, and No. 2 in the 2001 race.
Why? There is no such thing as a “Catholic vote.”
Unlike members of other religious sects, Catholics have a mind of their own.
President-elect Duterte wants Butch Ramirez, former chief of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), to be a member of his incoming administration.
He would be an excellent choice for a government position where he could help the poor.
I once asked Butch, when he was PSC chief, to help pay the hospital bill and medical expenses of a coach of our national judo team who had a kidney problem.
Butch didn’t know about the coach’s predicament until the “Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo” public service program brought it up with him.
Butch paid for the hospital and medicine bills in full, drawing more than P200,000 from available PSC funds.
The PSC has very limited funds for the hospital expenses of coaches and athletes.
From my experience with him, Butch has a big heart for the needy.
Since I’ve brought up the coach’s kidney problem, I might as well tell you that our national coaches work practically gratis et amore.
This judo coach slept at the gym of the Philippine Amateur Judo Association (PAJA) with his preteen daughter because he had no money to rent a house or room.
They are still there.
Since he lacked money to pay for their food, he and his daughter subsisted on cup noodles.
Having cup noodles every day led to his serious kidney problem because he and his daughter—who has since become a member of the national judo team—were ingesting too much salt and chemical preservatives.
The story dramatizes the plight of our national athletes and coaches, which the Digong administration might want to look into.
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POSTSCRIPT. For comments, suggestions and non-violent reactions, just email to attydandanbantugan@yahoo.com

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